Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Corrie Roller-Coaster

The Coronation Street juggernaut powers on. This year we've had fires, destruction, deaths galore. The usual secrets and lies, extra episodes dropped in without so much as a warning, precious little Rita, far too much Platt and the campest villain known to man. 

Watching Corrie these days is a roller-coaster in quality control. Most of the time one scene featuring Eileen Derbyshire being majestic in The Kabin or the Community Centre is enough to wipe out the glaring holes created during the Jenny Bradley kidnap drama. I don't know why, but it's just very up and down these days. It's been a joy to see Beverley Callard take centre stage as Liz, the best Rovers Landlady we've had in eons. It's been much less pleasurable to see forty odd years of Helen Worth's hard work dribble away as Gail becomes a permanent twittery waste of space.

Alison King can do no wrong as Carla, but her recent storyline seeing Mrs Connor's descent into self pity and gambling addiction just hasn't worked. Neither has her newfound lust for Gail's oldest off-spring and the fruit of Brian's loins, the whimpering Nicholas T. These two briefly worked together when the Nick with this face joined five or so years ago. At the time people wondered if they'd stick them together and thankfully they didn't. So why now? Have the storyliners run out of options? As the only two residents of the posh flats, can they only mix with fellow characters with balcony and fancy window shutters? 

Also added to the mix is the arrival of yet another Connor nobody has ever mentioned before but everyone knows so well it's as if they only saw him last week. I was prepared to hate Aidan on sight. This was partly down to the casting, following as it did hot on the heels of Sarah Harding's brief stint. More importantly it just felt like the latest in a long line of flashy businessmen in nasty suits, driving shiny motors and ramming their male selves into the back office at Underworld. We've had Paul Connor, Liam Connor, Luke Strong, Tony Gordon...blah, blah, blah. Nobody has come close to equal the sublime Baldwin years as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, despite my worries, I've actually taken to Aidan Connor. I know it's early days but I rather like the character, I like his dynamic with Carla and I'm quite impressed with Shayne Ward's acting. It also helps that he's fairly easy on the eye. I guess time will tell but it's showing promise.

Sadly, I'm still struggling with another newcomer to the cobbles. I know our wonderful editor Flaming Nora is loving the Roy and Cathy story but it's just not clicking for me. I don't even think it's anything to do with Hayley or the memory of Roy and Hayley together. I just don't think the characters work. Melanie Hill is an excellent actress with a strong career but somehow Cathy Matthews is just leaving me cold. I don't care enough.

Unfortunately the Platt family are going to dominate the September live episode. Well, it makes sense given that they've dominated the entire year. I don't mind the individual members of the Platt family, it's just when they move as a pack I get concerned. We've had so many family meetings, threats from Callum and dewey moments when Gail has said the worst is over. You'd think the woman would learn by now. It's become so tedious I just wish Callum, Gemma and Max would be spirited away somewhere t'other side of the Pennines.

I loathe Callum. He's a laughable character, played in a bizarre fashion. All the stuff with Sarah was dire. I also loathe Gemma although I know she has her fans. I sincerely hope whatever happens to Callum happens to her too as I don't want her as a long-term Rovers regular. Weirdly, Bethany has grown on me. Putting the stroppy eye-rolling aside, the character has come on of late and is actually the best of the Platt bunch at the moment. I may live to eat my words...

I've also found myself sighing a lot whenever Fiz and Tyrone appear on screen together. Ok, they will never be as beige as Sinead and Chesney (a traditional old before their time Corrie couple), but since they settled into domestic bliss they've become irritating and smug. Tyrone I'll always love but Fiz has morphed into a character I love to hate. She's become domineering, self-righteous and over-bearing. Vera Duckworth could be all of these things but we always forgave her. I struggle with the forgiveness when it comes to Fiz. 

I live in hope that Audrey and Rita may emerge from the Corrie Cupboard soon, all Deansgate frocks and scarves, freshly coiffed and ready to camp. Whatever the writers do, please DO NOT put Aud with Kenneth Barlow. The return of the glorious Jenny Bradley must surely mean more screen time for Barbara Knox as Rita. She's been noticeably absent this year and there is so much they could do with these two wonderful Weatherfield women.

Apart from that I hope Lloyd leaves Andrea-free, Craig's lovely girlfriend pays him a visit, Anna takes Faye on a long trip...somewhere else, Kevin shaves off his scraggly beard, Gary finds someone better than that Alya (me), Steph and Luke get a proper storyline as siblings and Zeedan finds himself in an episode where all his shirts are in the wash (hint).

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Lorna said...

To be honest, Carla's storyline has worked for me. Granted, it's not the most exciting story she's had but it makes sense to me.
I also think her and Nick work well together. Never thought I would like them as a couple but I've enjoyed watching them growing closer and I find Nick more interesting now that he's with Carla.

Re Callum, I'm still finding it impossible to take him seriously. Now there is a story that hasn't worked for me.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Only thing I disagree with is Bethany. She and Sarah arriving together was over-kill. If Bethany had turned up on her own, refusing to go back and Sarah too ill/whatever to fetch her, we might have got an interesting storyline. I'll bang on about this till Corrie takes action but the directors don't seem to notice the eye rolling, arm folding, mumbling of the less experienced cast. Will Bethany be in the live episode? I hope the young actress can cope. The young Corrie couples have never had typical youthful lives; I suppose that's why they live on Coronation Street. Tina bundled her hair up in a French bun, and could have been 45. I wish some of the youngsters had a sense of humour. Steph is the only one who seems up for a laugh. Would be great to hear her recount to Leanne some stupid prank she and a mate had just got up to, and Leanne reminiscing about similar antics with Toyah.

Paul said...

Many of the actors mentioned are doing wonders with weak material. How frustrating it must be for them to be given scripts that have their characters shifting from one mood to another with no motivation.

Allison King has done wonders with what could have been a one-note villain. I still recall her magnificent moments with Hayley in her dying days and then that heartbreaking scene with Roy and Anna right after Hayley died. She will be missed when she exits next year but, fingers crossed, comes back with batteries recharged and a strong storyline.

No offense to Ben Price but I have never, not for a single second, believed him as Nick. Not only did the character age a decade but he got a personality transplant while away.

As for the rest of the Platts:
They have squandered the return of Tina O'Brien (her scenes with her one-time real-life partner Ryan Thomas aside).
Jack P Shepherd has managed to do the impossible and make David a sympathetic character.
Paula Lane was much missed as Kylie and injects energy into every scene she is in
Helen Worth -- oh Gail -- what have they done to you?

I continue to be wowed by Sue Cleaver, who gives such nuance to Eileen -- again, without much to work with in the way of scripts.

Yes, Beverly Callard rules the Rovers in a way we haven't seen since Bet Lynch. She manages to be both maternal and a minx. And Simon Gregson does wonders with Steve, shifting from comedic to dramatic in the same scene.

I do wish that the old guard was given their due with substantive storylines: Let's see Emily have an admirer or Rita and Audrey pair up to tackle the seniors singles scene. As for Ken, please, please bring Stephanie Beachum as Martha.

For me, Alan Halsall and Jennie McAlpine can do no wrong as Tyrone and Fiz.

John McE said...

Ken and Audreh are a perfect pairing, IMHO, and it's no surprise they will be getting together shortly. And I find it refreshing that the production team are reportedly trying them together to see how the viewing public react. Would that they had tried this with a few other Corrie couples, before it was too late.

Sorry, but I find what they've done to Carla quite tragic. They introduce a strong female character, and then firstly with her drinking problems and now her gambling have reduced her to a pitiful wreck. And they even made her break the cardinal rule of addiction - don't get found out. As if she'd really leave her laptop open on a gambling site, for all to see!

And please let Gail rediscover her backbone. She should have been a terrific character in middle age, if only they hadn't turned her into a simpering fool.

Tvor said...

I've never liked Nick as a character in any of his incarnations from early teens onward. I don't mind Ben Price, i think he's doing a good job, I just don't like Nick much so I suppose it's a like to dislike thing. I don't think he and Carla would go the distance even if Alison King was staying on. They're a doomed couple regardless, Carla clinging on to Nick like a life preserver as she's sinking and Nick seems to be all about saving Carla, the knight in shining armour and all that. Not really a basis for a long term relationship. for me that is why they don't work as a couple.

I don't have a problem with all the Platt story this year aside from when Kylie was gone. The Callum and David stuff was dreadful without her around. I'm getting used to Sarah and Bethany and it's better now Sarah's seen the light about Callum. I'm positive she only went with him to wind up David. It was never love. She was just stupid but she's never been that clever about men. Bethany is settling in and I like her better now.

Yeah, so many plot holes, a lot of inconsistencies. Not near enough with the older set though I have to say I am not missing Norris who is still injecting his smug vitriol but we dont' see him much. Suits me. I wonder if they could possibly consider giving Norris a proper storyline again. He's much better when he's not a one note gossipy nasty little twit.

Joseph Billington said...

Nick and Carla work for me. I also think that the gambling storyline works well. As for Roy and Cathy...well everyone deserves some happiness. Camp Callum is a waste of space. Gail was a strong woman now she's a withering fool.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog! I agree with you completely regarding Fizz and Cathy. I used to like Fizz but now I find her character boring. All she seems to do is nag and boss Tyronne around. I am so not looking forward to listening to her carrying on when Hope gets ill. I'll probably tune out those scenes. As for Cathy I haven't warmed up to her at all and I don't like her staying at Roy's. There is no need for her to do that she has a huge house. She needs professional counselling to deal with her hoarding issues not hanging around Roy. What happened to the allotment storyline?

Anonymous said...

If every character who needed professional counseling received it, that in itself could be a spin-off. Kind of like Tony Soprano's sessions with Dr Melfi, but a different character each episode. On the other hand, as someone else said in a comment, there are different kinds of therapy, not all of which involve talk or drugs. Rover has acted as a therapy dog for Steve and art is a therapy for Cathy. It's great to have these alternatives as they don't involve hospitals or rebound relationships. They tend to draw in other characters and create a communal vibe.

abbyk said...

Ken doesn't need Audrey or Martha, he needs Ted and Brian. He never seemed so alive as when he had good theater, history and literature companionship. Audrey would be a rehash of Deirdre in that area, and it's waaaayyyyyy too soon for a romance. Wonder why he and Yasmeen don't have a friendship from back in the library days, hmmm. Sharif could get a bit hot under the collar misreading their literary chats.

Speaking of Yasmeen, she and Gail need to get together at the community center. Maybe the volunteering as a way to get away from her smothering family or to take a class on new work place skills for older workers, it would be a sensible way for Gail to regain her lost mettle and make a friend her own age.

Carla's slide doesn't make sense in that it is happening to a woman who survived two failed marriages to cheaters, a rape, her brother stealing her business, a kidnapping, a miscarriage, and a factory fire in less than 10 years. She's always had her drink binges, but squandering her fortune for something she thinks she did but has no actual memory of is not believable, for her.

With Cathy, it feels like she's plotting something but we're never sure what. Haven't taken a liking to her and think she has very much overstayed her welcome at Roys.

The other Nicks were before my time, so I have no issue with the current one. He looks older than his character, but he seems to be a good man and I like him with Carla. Fiz was so much fun when she was younger, but became submissive and screechy post John Stape. The sickness story should let us see a lot of her, for better or worse. I'm currently loving Craig and David as well as Zeedan and his successful personality transplant. Rita and Emily need a story, and we should be seeing something of how Faye is getting on.

The sooner we say bye bye to Callum, Gemma, Macca and, yes, Mary, the better.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the Platts dominating the screen, no doubt the other reason Rita has been absent from the screen is down to the actress underneath spending time in court. Given the media attention, do doubt she was at least suspended from work for a period of time. Regardless of the circumstances, TPTB can't need to ensure it doesn't look like they are doing anything that condones the behaviour that led to charges and that they are reacting appropriately in the eyes of the media.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Nick grabbing his head anymore? David's epilepsy vanished as mysteriously as it arrived. Carla's gambling is a bore-fest. The live episode will see the end of Callum I suppose but will probably fall apart due to the lack of experience of the younger cast. Can't wait!!

Jordan Lloyd Beck said...

I fear that Corrie is slipping into the cliché of a normal soap lately. It always has has something that sets it apart from Emmerdale or EastEnders.
Great post, Graeme. I agree with almost everything, except I rather like Gemma, I've never really liked Tyrone and I think Cathy is okay. I preferred Fiz when she was the funny chubby girl with frizzy hair . She often doesn't do dramatic stories well.
Oh, and I think we're in the Gary queue together hahaha.

Fab post :) x

Louby said...

Gail needs a good, original storyline that doesn't involve men! A totally different job maybe, or take her out of it for a while to volunteer overseas like Hayley did, and when she returns she could live away from her adult children. I agree with others that her character has changed into a simpering idiot, and if the writers can't think up something new for her they might as well write her out.

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